Walk the Line

She?s no longer ?legally blonde.? Reese Witherspoon has traded in her pink legal pads to become something that is, above all else, real. Fans of the movie Vanity Fair will pleased to see Witherspoon prove, again, that she has the talent to play movies that don?t cater to fans of ?chick flicks.? In Walk the Line, Witherspoon plays June Cash, the strong wife of one of music?s greatest legends ? Johnny Cash. Joaquin Phoenix (Emperor Commodus in 2000?s Gladiator) plays Johnny. Both Cashes approved this choice of actors before their deaths in 2003; Apparently, Johnny Cash had been impressed by Phoenix?s portrayal of Commodus, and gave the okay for filming.

The talent that the ?Man in Black? was so impressed with is evident when viewing scenes from the movie. Both Witherspoon and Phoenix put forth a lot of effort into becoming these characters ? and it shows. Both actors went through a ?rock and roll boot camp? that included music lessons, practice time, band practice, and practice recording sessions. Although the musical performances are great, the plot of the movie and the actors? talent is what has created its Oscar buzz.

Unlike those annoying biopics that attempt to tell a person?s entire life story in the span of two hours (or in the case of Ray, two and a half hours), Walk the Line refuses to give the viewer the CliffNotes on Cash?s life. Instead, it devotes a little over two hours to chronicling the time Cash spent from right before getting his record deal to his legendary performance at Folsom Prison. Mostly, the movie is dedicated to telling the story of the love affair between Johnny and June.

According to Cash, June is the reason he battled his addiction to methamphetamines. Walk the Line shows how his love of June brought Cash back from obscurity and made him into the legendary performer he is known as today. Despite her background in less serious films, Witherspoon seems to have succeeded in transforming herself into the strong, complex character of June Carter Cash.

Witherspoon?s talent is matched, if not surpassed, by the talent evident in Phoenix?s portrayal of the late Johnny Cash. He manages to become Cash, a feat that is not easy. In one scene, Cash is meeting with record company executives after his recuperation and they?re trying to convince him not to perform at a prison ? after all, his listeners are Christian people, and they don?t want him singing to convicts. Cash?s response to this is strong and emphatic, yet affable. With any actor other than Phoenix, this attitude would be impossible to pull off. Phoenix does it outstandingly.

The movie is interesting even if you are not a fan of Cash?s music; it?s a biopic that can be viewed in its own right. Yes, Harry Potter just came out. Yes, most of us haven?t really listened to Johnny Cash, with the exception of music majors. But there?s a reason this movie is receiving Oscar buzz already.

Every once in a while, you have to watch a movie that makes you remember why you love movies ? and if you?ve seen your fill of overdone superhero movies and horrible sequels to mediocre movies, go out and see Walk the Line. Who knows, you might find your new favorite musician in the process.